In yet another case, a woman found out that her foetus had abnormalities after she crossed the 20-week deadline. Since in India, the Section 3 of the Medical Termination of Pregnancy (MTP) Act, 1971, does not allow abortion after 20 weeks of pregnancy, she approached the Court on November 3 with the plea to allow her abort the foetus.
“Bombay High Court had turned down my petition for Niketa Mehta in 2008. Today it has allowed abortion for this woman. It feels like a complete circle,” said Dr Nikhil Datar, medical director and gynaecologist at Cloudnine hospital, under whose guidance the woman had filed the petition.
The medical termination of the pregnancy of the woman will be done at JJ Hospital-Byculla on Tuesday.
Dr Datar said while it is a welcome news, women still have to approach Court for MTP permission. “We need to have an ultimate solution to this problem. We have to come out with a mechanism where we will not require judicial intervention for MTP in such cases.”
Dr Datar has so far helped more than 15 women approach SC with a similar plea. The National Commission of Women (NCW) had recommended to the union health ministry that abortions till the 24-weeks of pregnancy should be allowed. After which, in 2014, the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare department’s proposed amendment to the present MTP act. The proposed act that will be called- The Medical Termination of Pregnancy (Amendment) Bill, 2014 proposed to increase the abortion limit from the present 20 weeks to 24 weeks.
Meanwhile, on October 3, US House passed a legislation criminalising abortions after 20 weeks of pregnancy. While it allows exceptions in instances where the life of the mother is in danger, rape and incest, the legislation provides for criminal and civil penalties against doctors or others who perform the procedure, including up to five years in prison.